FORMER Lions wing John Bevan was one of the figures lauded by Wales stars at final autumn Test against South Africa after helping Newport Gwent Dragons speedster Hallam Amos flourish. When Rob Howley’s squad met up in October they were given the chance to nominate somebody who had made a difference to them, whether a school teacher, club coach or family member who helped foster their love of rugby and develop them into an international player.
Amos, out of action until at least February after dislocating his left shoulder in the opener against Australia, nominated his Monmouth School director of rugby Bevan. The dual-code international, who toured Australia and New Zealand with the Lions, was unable to accept an invitation to the Springboks clash because of a prior engagement but was touched by the gesture of his former protégé.
He said: “I’m delighted to be nominated by Hallam, a lot of people could have been chosen as many coaches have played a part in his career. I take a lot of pride in Hallam’s pathway as does the whole of Monmouth School. He is a great ambassador on and off the field. He was a very balanced runner as a youngster, a footballer primarily but he took to rugby like a duck to water and shone not only as an individual player, but he read the game before other players and knew how to rely on his team mates. It wasn’t just his speed that stood out but the way he used angles, knew when to off-load the ball and isn’t afraid to run from his own line and make the most of small opportunities.”
Amos, who recently signed a fresh dual contract that will keep him at Rodney Parade until at least 2018, said his former teacher has left a lasting impression on and off the field.
The 22-year-old from Cross Ash said: “I was only young so I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or where rugby could lead to outside of school – it was just about having fun and basic skills.
“Much of the success we had as a team all through school was down to Mr Bevan. He had a few catchphrases that followed me through school, I’ve even used them when I was leaving school as head boy.
“A big one was shouting ‘my Granny could do it better’ in his thick Welsh accent, which was always quite entertaining!”
Now retired, Bevan still coaches on a part-time basis and has an important piece of advice for teenagers who want to emulate Amos.
“Try hard in your academic work and then concentrate on the rugby. If you come to Monmouth for just the rugby, you’ll have a nightmare,” he said.
“It’s got to be for the academia as well because that’s going to stand you in good stead – rugby won’t get you through life totally.”